Anderson Silva is arguably the greatest fighter the UFC has ever seen, but that doesn't mean his legacy is bulletproof.
The 38-year-old is fresh off of suffering his first-ever UFC loss earlier this July (Silva's first UFC fight was in June 2006) following a second-round knockout defeat at the hands of Chris Weidman. The Spider would surrender his UFC middleweight title in the process.
To quickly put Weidman's victory in perspective, Silva had successfully defended the middleweight crown a record 10 straight times before the stunning loss on July 6 in Las Vegas.
But even though Silva deserves tons of credit for dominating the middleweight division over the past few years and taking out challenger after challenger, he's in danger of hurting his legacy with back-to-back losses to Weidman.
While Weidman will enter as the favorite after defeating Silva in convincing fashion at UFC 162, the latter has more to lose. Sure, Silva has been champion long enough, but two consecutive losses for the first time in his professional career could have some second-guessing his past accomplishments and would no doubt taint his legacy.
Clearly, Silva is closing in on the twilight of his career, but as several athletes have demonstrated in the past, it's often times how you finish that counts when it comes to how you are remembered and whether you're revered.
An impressive victory over Weidman in December would have many labeling Silva's loss at UFC 162 a fluke and would allow the Spider to pump some much-needed air into his legacy. But another convincing defeat could have a similar effect, only negative.
A second straight Weidman win would reaffirm what many are now thinking: Silva's run in the middleweight division is all but over.
His 16 straight UFC victories and 10 consecutive successful title defenses would become ancient history and those fans who have recently discovered the UFC would remember him for his vulnerability and inability to protect and win back the crown rather than his reign of invincibility.
It's not fair to judge Silva's legacy on one fight, but there's no question that a second straight loss following a 16-0 start would severely damage the Brazilian superstar's legacy.
Silva's UFC records may be safe, but his legacy will be in serious danger at UFC 168.
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